It seems there are two very different types of people today when it comes to personal finance. There are those who pay a great deal of attention to personal budgets and expenditures and those who seem to fly by the seat of their pants.
Needless to say, the fly by the seat of your pants approach is not ideal, and can lead to financial hardship. A clean monthly budget can provide you with a clear snapshot of your finances at any point, and can help eliminate unnecessary spending.
Unfortunately, far too many people do not implement a monthly budget because they are simply too lazy to do so. The good news, however, is that budgeting does not have to be a complicated and time consuming endeavor. In fact, done correctly, even the laziest person on the planet can get motivated to do a budget.
Here are five tips that can help make budgeting a snap, and can assist you on your way to financial freedom:
Tip #1: Take stock of your spending
The first step in making a simple budget you can stick with is to account for your monthly expenses. Take a little time to tally up your monthly nut including housing expenses, utilities, food, insurance and all other regular expenditures.
Tip #2: Automate
You can now use online banking or other types of software to have your bills paid automatically each month by their due dates. Doing so will not only help you avoid late fees, but will save you a great deal of time.
Tip #3: Plan shopping trips in advance
By taking a few moments to plan your next trip to the grocery store, you may be able to save a significant amount of money. Planning ahead can help ensure you don’t make impulse purchases and can also give you the opportunity to cut coupons to save even more.
Tip #4: Make savings automatic
Just as you can have your bills paid automatically, you can also make savings an automatic and painless part of your monthly budget. For example, if you are paid on the 15th and the 30th of each month, set up an automatic transfer from each paycheck that goes directly into a savings account.
Tip #5: Do the math
Budgeting is really quite simple in reality. A simple budget just takes monthly income and subtracts monthly expenses. That’s it. Take a little time to figure out exactly where you stand each month when all the math is done. Then, take any excess money you have on a monthly basis and dedicate a certain percentage to savings (the larger the better) and you can use the rest as you please for that next trip or new car.
A good, effective budget does not have to take a lot of time or be overly complicated. In fact, the benefits of having and sticking to a budget are so powerful that even the laziest type of person can get motivated to make a budget and follow it.